Dec 19, 2011 News
For two years now the Minister of Housing Irfaan Ali and his Parliamentary Opposition Colleague Khemraj Ramjattan have been engaged in a fierce verbal battle stemming from a $4B Supplementary Provision that found its way to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
The Housing Minister in his most recent pronouncement on the matter had sought to lambast Ramjattan, saying that the money was used for the development of 15000 house lots.
Ramjattan again accused the Housing Minister of lying and queried as to where were the15000 house lots that the Housing Minister spoke of.
In what has now become a tradition between the two, Ali continued to trade barbs saying that Government invested the $4B that was sought in early 2010 to acquire in excess of 2000 acres of land from GuySuCo.
Thus far, according to Ali, the Ministry has 1000 serviced house lots completed in Eccles, close to 700 in Herstelling and is working on a further 1500 moderate-income lots at Providence; while the design for a further 1000 lots at Herstelling has been recently completed.
This he said has been realised as a result of the $4B investment and Ali maintained that this transaction has not been kept a secret from the public.
Ramjattan did not let the Minister’s words fall by the wayside and says that Minister Ali wants the country to be sidetracked from the violation of the provisions of the Finance laws and regulations of Guyana.
He charged that any Minister of Government in any regular democracy, who misled Parliament as he did in the Ninth Parliament, would never have seen himself in the next succeeding Parliament.
“To misappropriate $4B in the manner he did by taking it out of the Treasury in 2009, and then seeking Parliamentary approval in 2010 is grounds for his expulsion.”
Ramjattan reminded that the money was utilized in 2009 and then in early 2010 permission and subsequent approval was sought in the House for use of the $4B.
The AFC Chairman says that if the then Speaker Ralph Ramkarran had convened the Committee of Privileges and the trial had started then Ali would have certainly been found guilty.
Ramjattan reminded that the contents in the 2010 Estimates which contradicted what Ali said concerning the Financial Paper No.6 of 2009 “convicted him!”
The AFC Chairman posits that “That is why it was never convened.”
Ramjattan is asserting that the Housing Minister seeks to now distract the public gaze from this flagrant violation and plea that the money was used to develop house lots.
“Well here again he is being untruthful…This ought not to mitigate his misconduct as the $4B never went towards developing house-lots at Diamond where he situated them when he was being questioned by (the late) Mr. (Winston) Murray and myself.”
Ramjattan restated his position that the $4B went towards a bailout of GuySuCo.
He said that the lands to which the Minister is now referring to which provided 1000 lots at Providence and a further 700 at Herstelling were never bought with the $4B.
“It was bought from all appearances from the initial $430M allocated as of January 2009…When the Minister came at the end of 2009 for this massive sum of $4B he never wanted to answer questions as to where this huge sum will go except to say in general terms for creating 17,000 house-lots, not 15,000 as he mentions now…What happened to the 2000?
Ramjattan further states that the Housing Minister never provided a Profile as to the $4B expenditure for a Capital work.
“He believed it was his to spend as he liked…This was in fundamental breach of his obligation to specify where it will be spent and during what time period.”
Ramjattan says that “It was for this reason both the AFC and PNC walked out of the National Assembly in disgust at his evasiveness, and then total silence when I advised that he may be committing a criminal offence under section 85 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2003…Further, he never since has given the information although I had requested it.”
Ramjattan said that the Minister was obligated in the Ninth Parliament to provide where the house lots, the roads, the sanitation and water facilities were going to be situated.
“So he must not come now and talk all that trash, to cover up, that it went into 1000 lots at Providence and 700 at Herstelling…Lies and more lies,” Ramjattan insisted.
“You can point fingers and say that the Minister is lying, but where the lie?…the $4B was paid to GuySuco for lands which were transferred to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), which has commenced work to develop 15,000 house lots on the East Bank,” Ali had charged.
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